Arabs hold 28 per cent of global gas reserves; OAPEC study

MENA, Sunday 1 May 2011

As the world's natural gas markets become more mature, natural endowments are giving Arab countries a competitive edge

Arab countries are estimated to hold 28 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves, some 1.89.7 trillion cubic metres, according to a study published by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

The study shows Qatar holds 47 per cent of the OAPEC's total natural gas reserves, followed by Saudi Arabia with 15 per cent, the UAE with 11 per cent and Algeria with 8.3 per cent.

Egypt is the Arab world's fourth largest gas producer, responsible for 14 per cent of Arab output in 2009.

Qatar tops the list, producing 20 per cent, with Algeria and Saudi Arabia in second and third place with 19 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Arab countries produce 15 per cent of the world’s natural gas.

Natural gas exports from the OAPEC grew by 31 per cent between 2005 and 2009, reflecting a 23 per cent growth in production over the same period.

Both increases are in line with a 6 per cent global growth in natural gas consumption.

Natural gas is generally a local-used commodity, where 74 per cent of production is consumed domestically in the country that produces it.

The OAPEC study indicates that natural gas pricing is dependent on a range of factors, including the production region and the price of crude oil and its derivatives.

However, with new players -- producers and consumers -- entering the global market, natural gas prices are expected to gradually diverge from oil price fluctuations.

The study added that new technologies have led to the development of non-conventional sources of natural gas,  achieving a significatin increase in gas production in the United States and some other countries.

This is said to have invigorated the gas market and lowed prices, particularly in the US.

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